Arudra Darshan

What is Arudra Darshan

Arudhra Darisanam or Thiruvathirai is a famous Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Natraja, one of the popular forms of Shiva. The devotees of Kerala and Tamil Nadu observe this festival with great zeal.

The festival celebrates the cosmic dance of Natraja, the dancing form of Lord Shiva. As per the scriptures, Arudhra signifies the bright-golden red flame, and Shiva, in the form of Nataraja, performs the divine dance.

Arudra Darshan festival is also known as Arudhara or Adi Thiruvathirai. Thiruvathirai is the name of one of the 27 nakshatras of Hindu astrology. The star is associated with Shiva.

Importance of Arudra Darshan

Margazhi is a month dedicated to the worship of gods. Therefore, only festivals and functions related to God are organized this month.

While Vaikunda Ekadashi is considered the most important festival of Lord Vishnu in the Margazhi month, the Arudra Darshan is the important festival of Lord Shiva in the month.

Chidambaram Arudra Darisanam festival

The Arudra festival is observed with great pomp at the Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. The Arudra Darshan Chidambaram Nataraja temple is one of the most important Shiva temples of India.

The specialty of this temple is that the idol of Nataraja is housed in a separate shrine featuring a golden roof. The idol of Nataraja comes out of the temple only once a year, and it is during the Arudra Darshan festival.

Lord Shiva never took birth, and therefore there is no birth star to observe his birth. But, on the auspicious day of Margazhi Thiruvaadhirai, he appeared before the two saints, Vyaagra Paadha and Pathanjali, and showed them his dance.

Once Adi Sesha, the great serpent king who serves as Maha Vishnu’s bed, noticed Lord Vishnu be in deep thoughts. Adi Sesha checked with Lord Vishnu about the same, and Lord Maha Vishnu replied that he was thinking about the great dance of Lord Shiva. The answer aroused Adi Sesha’s desire to witness Lord Shiva’s great dance. So he prayed to Lord Vishnu to show him a way to realize his desire.

Lord Vishnu advised Adi Sesha to do rigorous ‘tapas’ at Chidambaram’ towards Lord Shiva. Adhi Sesha followed Lord Vishnu’s advice and reached Chidambaram and started his penance towards Lord Shiva to have darshan of his dance. As Pathanjali’s penance was going on, another saint and a great Shiva devotee, Vyaagra paadha, too, reached Chidambaram. This saint prayed to Lord Shiva and got the tiger’s legs to pluck flowers at dawn before they were touched by the bees and then offered the flowers to Lord Shiva. He also observed ‘tapas’ to have the darshan of Nataraja Tandava.

At the marked time, Lord Shiva, pleased with the penance and prayers of the two saints, appeared before them and praised their devotion and danced before them in the ‘Nataraja’ form at Chidambaram on the Margazhi Thiruvaadhirai day.

From then on this day, the ‘Nataraja’ image of Shiva is worshiped at Chidambaram and other major Tamil Nadu Shiva temples with great zeal.

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Thiruvathira in Kerala

In Kerala, the Thiruvathira festival is celebrated on the Thiruvathira day of Malayalam month Dhanu. (Month names in Tamil and Malayalam vary, but the festival falls on the same day in both calendars). The married women pray for their husbands’ prosperity and healthy life while youngsters take part in the festivities to marry a man of their choice.

The ‘Thiruvathira’ festival is celebrated to commemorate the plea of Goddess Parvathi, who used to regularly observe fast on Thiruvathira day in the name of Lord Shiva pleaded him to heed to the plea of a newly married Brahmin girl, whose husband died days after their marriage, to bless her by giving rebirth to the deceased.

Parvathi’s fervent plea yielded results bringing the dead man alive, and womenfolk in all age groups observe day-long fast on the ‘Thiruvathira’ followed by the ‘Thiruvathirakali, Kaikottikali’ dance. After taking bathe in a group in ponds by splashing waters on one another before Sunrise and having 108 beetle leaves each as part of the celebrations.

When is Arudra Darshan Observed?

Arudra Darshan falls on the Full moon night in the Margazhi month of the Tamil Hindu calendar. There are historical shreds of evidence that suggest this festival has been celebrated on this day for more than 1500 years.

Arudra Darshan Date in 2021

In the year 2021, Arudra darshan will fall on the 20th of December. The day becomes doubly blessed as it falls on a Monday, an auspicious day to worship Lord Shiva. More details about the 2021 Arudra darshan are below.

Thiruvathirai Nakshathram Starts = 4:52 PM on 19-December-2021
Thiruvathirai Nakshathram Ends = 7:46 PM on 20-December-2021

Rituals of the Thiruvadhirai Vrata or Ardra Darshana Vrata

The Thiruvadhirai Vrata is one of the eight significant vratas observed in honor of Lord Shiva. The devotees perform the following rituals on this day.

  • The devotees get up very early in the morning and take a bath.
  • After finishing the daily rituals, the devotees go to Lord Shiva’s abode for darshan.
  • They offer fruits, flowers, and sweets to the Lord.
  • The’abhishekam’ ritual is performed to the Nataraja idol with milk, honey, tender coconut, and curd.
  • The devotees witness the holy anointing ceremony of Lord Nataraj. It is a ritual to light up this abode of Lord Shiva with ghee lamps.
  • On Thiruvadhira, a special sweet called ‘kali’ and ‘thalakam,’ a multi vegetable dish, is prepared to celebrate the joy of seeing this cosmic dance of Lord Shiva.
  • On the day of Thiruvadhirai vrata, the devotees must observe fasting for the whole day. They break their fast on the next day after finishing their Lord Shiva worship and morning salutations. A partake meal is then eaten with other Saivite devotees.
  • Get ready to observe the Arudra vrata and be blessed by Lord Shiva.

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